By RICHARDSON DHALAI Thursday, January 26 2012
PRIME MINISTER Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday noted that due to concerns about the San Fernando/Point Fortin Highway project, she was left with no choice but to take charge of this billion-dollar project.
Speaking to reporters prior to attending an Inter-Ministerial team meeting which included Works and Infrastructure Minister Jack Warner and Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine at the constituency office of Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal in Debe, she said:
“We need to get planning and implementation with respect to the highway, these are ministers who are involved, these are the key ministers we need to plan the way forward. There are some challenges which you may well know so we need to strategise on how best to get the job done.”
Asked how concerned she was about the challenges, Persad-Bissessar replied: “How concerned?”
“(There are) many challenges to get it done as fast as we can. There are some residents who are concerned about the highway passing through their districts. We need to give consideration to their concerns. Of course there will be challenges every time we have a major construction project.
“If we don’t push it and micro-manage it, it will take forever and we really have no intention because we will not be here forever. The meeting is to discuss their concerns and surmount the challenges that we have,” she said.
And speaking to reporters earlier, Warner said the meeting had been called “to discuss with the Inter-Ministerial committee, problems which have been raised about the highway to Point Fortin.
Asked about relocation of farmers to a site at Hermitage village, Warner said: “Cabinet already agreed on that. Farmers will be given two-acre blocks...other people will be given 5,000 square feet of land. In any event nobody should be disadvantaged. In fact they will be better off in many cases than they are right now.”
Asked about the non-payment of wages to a sub contractor by the Brazilian contractor, he said: “This is the first time I’m hearing of this and if this is so, I will liaise with NIDCO. The issue of the PURE audit will be discussed at another level.”